Killzone: Mercenary

This was another of my first Vita purchases based on all the glowing reviews. Borderlands plays well on the system but I really wanted to try out a Triple-A shooter that was built specifically for the Vita. The game does a great job of showing what this handheld is capable of. This and Uncharted are the perfect “show off” games for the Vita.

Let’s dive into Killzone. First off it has its own story but unlike Shadowfall this still plays and feels like classic Killzone. You play as a mercenary that has been hired on to help support the ISA against the Helghast. You take on specialized missions and get paid to do so, which they remind you of a lot. Everything you do basically earns you money and the characters talk about getting paid a lot. There are pros and cons to this approach.

2015-07-08-211132While all the talk about getting paid gets a bit annoying that mechanic of it does allow you to upgrade your gear and buy new weapons in the field frequently. There are boxes littered all through the campaign where you can access the Blackmarket. This is great since it’s easy to wind up in a new area where your current weapon is not right for the job, typically a Blackmarket box will be within view and you can quickly sort it out.

The Blackmarket also enables cheap gameplay since if you are getting your ass kicked by a boss encounter you can just run to the Blackmarket, buy a rocket launcher, and problem solved. Even heavys that require you do damage to their back in order kill them can be sorted with a rocket to the face completely obliterating any tension or strategy.

2015-07-08-211515Rockets come in handy quite often in this game. The controls can be a bit finicky given the limitations of the Vita thumbsticks. Precise aiming is harder than usual due to it and the game’s aim assist is non-existent. I’m not one who usually leans on aim assist but on this system it’s helpful. You will miss the target more often than not during the first half of the game as you try to get used to the controls. Luckily it’s compatible with PS TV. In the areas where I kept getting killed because I had a hard time aiming I just fired it up on PS TV and used a Dualshock 4 pad. It was a cakewalk. Also the game looks great on a big screen.

The main single player campaign is broken into nine short, separate missions. I didn’t try out any of the multiplayer. I actually tried to just for the sake of doing this review but wasn’t able to find anyone to play with which did not surprise me based on when this game came out.

All in all, the game plays well and runs very smoothly. No complaints in that regard. It runs on the same base engine as Killzone 3 on the PS3 and definitely looks the part. Lighting, shadows, textures they all look fantastic on the little screen. I’m actually going to play it through again entirely on the PS TV and experience it on a big screen just because it’s a short afternoon game that’s pure fun. I beat the game my first time through in just under five hours. Lot of people complained about the length, I loved it. It will be great on long road trips when riding shotgun.

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If you have a Vita and don’t already have this game I highly recommended it if you like shooters. Control issues aside I loved every bit of it and with practice the controls start to get easier. Hell, maybe it’s just me as I have found very little complaints online about them. Either way, you can find it new for about $25 and it’s worth the price of admission.

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